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    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

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Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Discover the best of Rwanda; from gorillas in Volcanoes National Park to tracking lions in Akagera and witnessing chimps in the Nyungwe Forest. As one of the first tour operators to lead gorilla trekking safaris you couldn’t be in more expert hands.

Rwanda is still, without a doubt, the best place in the world to go mountain gorilla trekking and release your inner Attenborough. Walking in the Virunga Mountains in the shadow of giant prehistoric plants as the mists clear to reveal a family of gorillas is incomparable.

Rwanda’s stylish lodges are bursting with charm and the riot of colour around every corner from kanga clothing, banana plantations and the fertile hills soon exhaust your camera batteries. Rwanda is spectacular to behold, a winding succession of steeply terraced slopes, the silvery silhouette of eucalyptus trees standing out against the brilliant green of the tea plantations.

Akagera National Park, Rwanda
Akagera National Park, Rwanda
Home made gorilla picture, Rwanda
Rwanda
Blue monkey, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda
Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda

What to expect on your Rwanda Safari

A charm offensive. The people here are some of the warmest and most welcoming you could hope to meet. Incredible lodges with views to die for. A forward-thinking country – plastic bags are banned, public transport runs on bio-fuel and there’s a national day of cleaning every month – of which its people are rightly proud.

For those with more time Akagera Park, bordering Tanzania in the east, offers a big game viewing experience in which you get the wildlife to yourself, or head south to look for elusive chimps (as well as Rwanda’s best birding and chameleons) in the dark and exotic Nyungwe Forest. If you want to relax then head to Lake Kivu, where the only trekking to be done is back to your room from the beach when you realise you’ve forgotten your holiday read.

Volcanoes, Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Golden monkey, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Golden monkey, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Mountain Gorilla, Volcano National Park, Rwanda
Mountain Gorilla, Volcano National Park, Rwanda

Some ideas for a Rwandan holiday

  • No holiday to Rwanda would be complete without gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park.
  • Explore Akagera National Park, Rwanda’s equivalent of the savannah reserves of Africa, and track lions, reintroduced by African Parks in July 2015.
  • Spend time in the dramatic Nyungwe Forest, home to chimpanzees with excellent birding.
  • Trek to Dian Fossey’s grave at Karisoke.
  • Unwind on the sandy shores of Lake Kivu and explore this charming market town.
  • Take to two wheels and cycle through the idyllic Rwandan countryside – the backdrop to the iconic Tour du Rwanda
  • A helicopter safari over this small and very beautiful gem of a country.
Gorilla looking surly, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

In Rwanda gorilla trekking takes place in the Volcanoes national park, where Dian Fossey famously carried out her research. There are only about 700 mountain gorillas left in the wild, half of these can be found in central Africa’s Virunga Mountains.

There are ten habituated gorilla families, (Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Susa, Kwitonda, Karisimbi, Agashya, Bwenge, Ugyenda andHirwa). Most groups are half-day walks but Susa can take all day. Tracking here is usually easier than at Bwindi as the afro-montane forest is lighter. There are eight permits available daily for each group and each permit costs $1,500 per permit, per person. Every group is different, some with large numbers in the group, others smaller and given the habitat and terrain, it is unlikely you will see the groups in their entirety all at once!

Tracking gorillas in Rwanda compared to Uganda:

Pros

  • Spectacular setting, with easier trekking than Uganda
  • Ease of access is great for those looking for shorter, more focused trip
  • Younger, lighter forest than Uganda so easier for photographic opportunities

Cons

  • Permits are more expensive at $1,500 per person
  • Limited choices for other African wildlife experiences
  • Park can be busy
Read More
Mountain gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Mountain gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Rediscovering Rwanda

“David, my fellow gorilla trekker, has just summed up how you feel, the first time you see a mountain gorilla. High in the bamboo rainforests of northern Rwanda, six overexcited, muddy tourists are squeezed together, trying to stay calm and upright in a tiny forest clearing that has attracted an entire family of apes.”

Read More

Explore Rwanda

  • Akagera
  • Kigali
  • Lake Kivu
  • Nyungwe Forest National Park
  • Volcanoes National Park

Experiences

What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Track Chimps

Keep your feet on the ground but your head in the trees, as you track Nyungwe’s habituated troop of chimpanzees.

Suggested read: blog

Bird Watching

Discover one of the country’s best birding spots, with painted turacos and numerous sunbirds.

Suggested property

Forest Photography

Make the most of the younger, lighter forest than Uganda, for excellent photographic opportunities.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Forest Walks

Walk through forests full of colour, home to orchids, butterflies, monkeys and chameleons.

Suggested property

Canopy Walkway

Spot blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys and colourful birdlife from the 70-metre-high canopy walkway.

Suggested stay

Volcanic Landscapes

Take in the breath-taking views of mist-shrouded mountains and shimmering crater lakes.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Golden Monkeys

Try and keep up with the endemic and nimble golden monkeys.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Karisoke Trek

Pay your respects at Karisoke – the final resting place of Dian Fossey.

Imbabazi Orphanage

Visit the Imbabazi Orphanage, set up by American Rosamond Carr to provide a home for children orphaned by the genocide.

Relax at Lake Kivu

Unwind on the sandy shores of Lake Kivu and explore this charming market town. This is the perfect place to rest aching legs after gorilla trekking.

Suggested hotel

Where to Stay

Every captivating tailor-made itinerary needs a perfect base. Our team has handpicked this collection of properties to give you luxury options in styles to suit any adventure.

More luxury accommodation

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

Talk with our experts
  • 1 740 4000644

Chris Johnston

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

Talk with our experts
  • 1 740 4000644

Frequently asked questions about Rwanda

How close to the gorillas do you get when trekking?

How fit do I have to be for gorilla trekking in Rwanda?

How long are the gorilla treks in Rwanda?

What are the lodges like in Rwanda?

What else can I do apart from gorilla trekking in Rwanda?

What should I take when I go gorilla trekking in Rwanda?

When is the best time to go to Rwanda?

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Chris gave us great recommendations. Good organisation and service. Added my son to the trip and it all worked very well.

Rwanda

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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